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Dream Bahamas Cruise 2011 Archives

January 24, 2012

Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com shares some of his thoughts and observations from a cruise aboard the Disney Dream back in December. He has posted a couple of sets of pictures in earlier postings on this blog and on his website he has a full set of pictures and extended thoughts in the Disney Cruise section.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • I have put off going on a Disney Cruise for several reasons over the years ranging from just being lazy to wanting to spend my vacation time elsewhere to the cost factor. I finally decided to take the plunge this year. I had been on a couple previous cruises over the years including one on Premiere Cruise Lines when they had the Disney contract back in the 90s, everyone remember the Big Red Boat?
  • I went about the cruise like I would look at a theme park. Mostly because that is what comes naturally to me and secondly because I wanted pictures. I spent some time learning the layout of the ship and then set about exploring all corners of it. As you will see in the pictures I ended up taking quite a few, about 9,000 over the five days and four nights.
  • I really enjoyed my time on board. The ship was spectacular and offered plenty to do. Castaway Cay was a nice retreat. The number one question I have been asked about the trip so by non Disneygeeks is what about all the kids. I would have to say if you have no problem visiting the theme parks then you would have no problem on the ship. Yes, there are kids, remember it is Disney, but there are so many activities for them and the ship is large enough that I never really gave it any thought nor did they seem to cause any problems or headaches (now for their parents that may be another story).
  • Food: When people think of cruising they think of food. I am not a huge food person so it ranked well down on my list of priorities. There were plenty of choices and the rotational dining was nice. Unlike other cruise lines, on Disney ships you rotate through the dining rooms, each with their own theme. Your wait staff goes with you. I would rate the food as average compared to others I have experienced. I am a meat and french fry kind of guy. Out of the four dinners I only found two nice steaks on the menu. On other cruises there was always at least one to choose from. Also the fries in the dining rooms were not that good...the ones at Maters were substantially better.
  • Stateroom: We had a stateroom on Deck 7 that had a veranda. The room itself felt larger than other ships I had been on and I really liked having the split bathroom. One room had a sink and toilet and the other a sink and tub/shower. The water temperature was never constant for me, it always fluctuated between where I wanted it and cold.
  • Service: Disney Service was up to the levels I had anticipated for the most part. One thing we noticed on this cruise vs others is the crew was international but everyone spoke and understood English with no problems at all. You were able to easily communicate with everyone and anyone that you ran into and they all had the typical Disney attitude of friendliness.
  • Entertainment: The ship offered a different Disney production each night. The main shows in the Walt Disney Theater are what you have come to expect from Disney. Top-notch talent delivering a family-friendly show. Up on Deck they had a Pirates night set of shows as well as fireworks (the only cruise line to offer fireworks at sea). Throughout the cruise there were plenty of other entertainment options ranging from traditional Disney character encounters to traditional cruise entertainment like comedians and singing.

Day 1: December 4, 2011
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Once we arrived it was a quick and smooth process to drop our luggage, go through security and check in. We arrived at the terminal just before 11am. It was less than 15 minutes from the time we got dropped off till I was done checking in and roaming the terminal building taking pictures. Curious if the process is that smooth all day or if it was because of the time we arrived or if we were just lucky.
  • We were in boarding group 5 and were called to board about 11:40ish so I really did not have that much time to explore the terminal but felt I had enough to get a flavor for it. The lighting was a challenge, as you will see in the pictures. There were some Christmas decorations scattered about, too.
  • After lunch I had some time to kill until the first ship tour which was scheduled for 1:00pm so I did a little exploring and ended up in the District. Sort of by accident. The one thing that amazed me was how open the ship was. You were free to roam and take pictures in the guest areas pretty much any time you wanted. I never had a cast member say no to me or ask why I was there. I actually had several say to come back when people are not around or they would point out details to take pictures of. This was great for a geek like me!
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Made my way to the Port Adventures Desk on Deck 5, Midship and waited for the 1pm tour. I was a little disappointed with the tour. First it was only about 20 minutes long and it was really a simple orientation of the ship's main dining areas and entertainment venues. There was no detail or substance to it. It was really a surface level tour. The guides were accessible and willing to answer questions but they just did not take us any place interesting or go into any real details beyond the function of the space. I guess this was aimed at an audience wanting to know where some things were vs one wanting to learn about the ship. It was confined to the spaces on Deck 5 and then down to Deck 3.
  • All of the children/youth spaces were in an open house mode all afternoon. So I took this opportunity to visit them all and get pictures. Once their official activities started they would be off-limits except for the appropriate children and their parents (which would exclude me since no children were in our traveling party). There are five different spaces divided up by age group. The spaces encompass a good portion of Deck 5. You cannot help but be impressed by the amount of space and attention to detail given to each of these areas. Ranging from the scale (the ceilings are actually lower in these spaces to make them more to kid-scale) to the Disney character infusion. Also it being the holiday season all had their own Christmas decorations.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • It's a Small World Nursery! - This is a reservation-only space for infants and toddlers (three months to three years old). The decor is Small World/Mary Blair-inspired. I thought the space was laid out a bit awkwardly with the small lobby then hallway to the main room in the back, but I guess it makes sense to have the Nursery toward the middle, probably more quiet area.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Oceaneer Club - For ages 3 to 10 this space has several distinct areas to play and interact in. Pixie Hollow, Andy's Room, Monsters Academy, and Explorer Pod. I thought this was the most interesting of the spaces to explore. The themed rooms were well done and the detail was great. Luckily when I went through there were very few people around so I was able to get pictures with no problem.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Oceaneer Lab - Connected to the club and targeted at the same ages, this space has a Media Room, Animator's Studio, Wheelhouse, Sound and Craft Studios. This space seemed geared to the slightly older end of the spectrum with less emphasis on the Disney/Pixar characters and more on the activities themselves. Technology reigns in all the areas but here there was an abundance of computers and screens to interact with.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Edge - located on Deck 13 in the forward funnel this space is for tweens ages 11-13. I thought this was a very awkward space and was the smallest of all the areas. But it is targeted at an awkward age group stuck right in the middle so having their own space in a unique location seems to make perfect sense to me.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Vibe - located on Deck 5 forward, this space is for 14-17 year olds. It includes a club space, rooms, as well as a sun deck in the very front of the ship. This was a fairly extensive series of spaces with more of a nightclub feel to it.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • The outside deck has a great location and it was fun to look back and up at the front of the ship.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Not to be left out the Adult Spaces (18+) include the Senses Spa and Salon, which I also toured. This was a good size area on Deck 11 forward. There was also an adults only area around the Cove Pool and up on Deck 13 around the Currents Bar. Both had signs but I saw no active presence to keep families out. The night club area also became adults only after a certain time each evening when the clubs really picked up for the night.
  • The one age group that there was no designated space for would be the older set. I joked with several that there was no place to check in your senior citizens or ways to track and claim them. I guess the closest would be the Bingo in the D-Lounge??
  • I was able to walk through most of the ship before the lifeboat drill and on a first impression the ship is impressive. I did find some odd design choices and accessibility is weird in some spots. Such as hallways that do not go anywhere or elevators that do not go to the floor you want. Or no way to get where you want without going up a deck over then back down a deck. Or one that really seemed odd was if you took the aft elevators up to deck 11 to access the pool area you had to walk through Cabanas. There was no other way to access the area.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • After dinner I attended the King Triton's Tree Lighting Decree in the Lobby Atrium on Deck 3, Midship (I watched from Deck 4). I thought this was a nice, brief ceremony to light the tree and atrium. I found it kind of surprising they only did this on the first night of the cruise. Nothing on subsequent days. I almost did not go the first night figuring I would catch it later but glad I did!

Day 2: December 5, 2011
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • I really enjoyed being up on deck and watching the ship come into port at Nassau this morning. The engineer in me cannot help but to be impressed at how easily the big ship is maneuvered. The ship came into the harbor, made an 180 degree turn inside, then backed into the dock alongside another ship. To accomplish this they have 3 bow thrusters (totally 12,069hp) and 2 stern thrusters (totaling (4,824hp) onboard the Dream. They can turn the ship at a combined 35 degrees per minute rate.
  • Since I had zero desire to disembark the ship and see Nassau we had a relaxing day on board. I had visited Nassau back in the 90s on my "Big Red Boat" cruise and really did not enjoy it. I also looked through the current guides and talked to some who had visited recently and when combining all that thought my time was better spent on the Dream.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Ate a relaxing breakfast at the Royal Palace and took a bunch of pictures since it was not crowded at all. Not sure if it was our timing or what but I was really surprised at how empty and calm the dining room was. It was about 8:30 in the morning so not super early.
  • After breakfast the plan was to give the Aquaduck a try. It was about 10am by the time I made my way up to deck 12 and the entrance. The line was short, posted at 10 minutes only. I walked up the stairs and in reality it was closer to about 5 minutes. But then as the group before me was waiting to board their raft no raft was sent up. The Cast member working looked over the side and started talking on the radio to the one at the exit. It seems someone lost their breakfast and they had to shut the ride down to clean it up. We hung around for a while since the CM said it should be quick to clean up. The cleanup did go fast but unfortunately they were not allowed to re-open until an officer could come and sign off on it and all the officers were tied up in a safety drill till noon. So my first attempt to ride the Aquaduck failed...
  • As a substitute since I had some free time I ended up giving the Goofy Golf course a try on Deck 13. We really enjoyed playing but we were really pushed along by some kids who just did not seem to get the concept of waiting or going ahead of us. Really this is the only time in the four days that stands out to me when some kids were a bit out of control and bothersome. I mean to the point of we were still hitting our second and third shots and they were already hitting off the tee into us and running around. We did return at a later time and played a more peaceful round.
  • I thought some of their scheduling was a bit odd. For example there was a presentation on the Making of a Dream. This was scheduled to start at noon. So it interfered with lunch choices a bit (especially since I wanted to go on another tour at 1:00pm). The Royal Palace lunch was open from noon to 1:30pm only so the only table service option was not going to work. Cabanas was 12 to 2 so again not really a good option. So I ended up with fast food since that opened at 11am.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • The first presentation of the day that I went to was entitled Making the Disney Dream. The Personal Navigator billed it as "Explore the origins of Disney Cruise Line - and the latest and greatest innovations conjured especially for the Disney Dream, in this fascinating and entertaining behind-the-scenes program." It lived up to the exploring the origins part. The rest I was a little more disappointed in. I think my problem was I saw the Imagineers' presentation at the D23 Expo and that taught me more about making the Dream and the special features than this presentation did. I kept comparing to that in my mind and then wishing I had skipped it and gone to a nice lunch instead. For someone who had not seen a presentation on the ship before this would have been a worthwhile endeavor but when combining the timing and the content I walked away disappointed. Not as disappointed as I was with the ship tour yesterday but still not satisfied. One thing that I do want to compliment the presentation material on is how it tied back to Walt and really tried to convey the company history. I did think this was worth mentioning.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • After two strikes in a row I was a bit nervous about the third program I was planning to attend. At 1:00pm I joined a small group in the Meridian up on Deck 12, Aft for a program entitled "Art of the Theme Ship Tour". This was described as "Join us on a guided ship tour and discover the ingredients that make the Disney Dream cruise ship one-of-a-kind". Well, this tour lived up to the billing and then some. I really enjoyed this tour. This tour visited the Meridian, Palo, and Remy and then went down to Deck 4 and the District. It focused on some of the unique spaces on the Dream and how they came to be and our guide pointed out some of the details (some hidden some not-so-hidden) of the spaces we visited. Out of the three tours this is the one I found the most interesting and would recommend to someone if they had to just choose one.
  • Gave the Mid-Ship Detective Agency a try. In this family-friendly game you choose one of two cases (the case of the missing puppies or missing painting, I did the painting one) and you register on Deck 5 and pick up your game guide and card. You then visit several pieces of interactive art around the ship for clues to help you solve your mystery. I would recommend giving these a try to anyone. It is a great way to view some of the art and fun too.
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • Dinner this evening was at the Royal Palace. I had already explored the restaurant and took plenty of pictures at breakfast so during dinner I relaxed and enjoyed the meal. This turned out to be my favorite meal of the trip. I had the Royal Palace Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin (it also came with lobster medallions that I did not get but many others at the table did and all enjoyed them too).
Geek's Disney Dream Cruise Thoughts & Observations - Part 1
  • The show this evening was Villains Tonight. This was more comical than last night's show. The gist here is Hades (from Hercules) is losing his evil ways so he wants to assemble all the Disney Villains to increase his evilness. I found the show entertaining but kind of an odd fit to focus on Villains.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2

December 30, 2011

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his cruise aboard the Disney Dream. This set of pictures is from Day 3 as he toured Castaway Cay. For pictures of the ship in general please visit disneygeek.com for his full report from the cruise.

Backing into Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

As we approached the dock a Christmas tree came into view.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


The Kargo Handling Tram stop had some decorations too.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

As did the welcome sign.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Time to head ashore.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

A photo op near the tree as you got off the ship.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


The Post Office had some decorations too.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


Along the walkway some more.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

A closer look.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

The tram was decked out for the season with reindeer antlers.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


The tram stop.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Along the first portion of the tramway some of the poles were decorated.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


A better shot of the reindeer tram.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Even the back...

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

As you went further into the island there was less in the way of decorations. So a couple random shots as I walked the Island..

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

The tram to Serenity Bay was not decorated.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Nor was anything out at the bay.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

A group of carolers roaming around the dining areas.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

The cruise activity cast members had holiday shirts on.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

A closer look.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

The characters had a different holiday design.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

I just liked this shot...

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Heading back to the ship...

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

A closer look at the tree.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


A couple more pictures of the Island from the ship before we departed.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

A better shot of the small building near the ship and its decorations.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


Thought the light house tree topper was great.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations

One last shot of the photo location to end.

Castaway Cay Christmas Decorations


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Christmas decorations on Castaway Cay. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full update in the Cruise Section of my site, http://disneygeek.com



December 23, 2011

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his cruise aboard the Disney Dream. This set of pictures are from Day 1 as he toured the ship, focusing on the Christmas decorations around the ship and the tree lighting ceremony. For pictures of the ship in general please visit disneygeek.com for his full update.

No Christmas decoration visible as you approach the ship...

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Nor outside the terminal.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

But inside there are some and Mickey was out in a holiday sweater to greet guests.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Inside the terminal there are some wreaths, ornaments and a tree.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

A wreath over the check in area.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


Minnie came out in relief of Mickey for photos.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The tree.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Heading on board.. a member of the cruise staff waits once you step into the atrium.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Garlands ring the lobby atrium.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


There's a tree off to the side which will be lit in a special ceremony later this evening.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


More garland on the main stair case.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


Back to the main tree which will be lit in a special ceremony later this evening.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The District Lounge on Deck 4, Aft

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Inside 687. (the tree is almost behind the pole)

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Another tree in the corner.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Back to the atrium.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


The Bon Voyage bar on Deck 3, Midship.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The Oceaneers Lab on Deck 5.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

This is the room that joins the lab and club.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


Heading next door to the Oceaneers Club.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The wreath behind the front desk.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Inside Andys room.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


Back to the center room..

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Inside Pixie Hollow.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Monsters Academy.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The Small World Nursery lobby.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The Vibe, you can just barely see the tree in the distance.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

This is in the Edge.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


The Outlook on Deck 14.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Next up the Senses area. There are some wreaths in the waiting area.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


This is the Cove Cafe on Deck 11.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


A look into Remy on Deck 12 Aft.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Next door at Palo.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The Enchanted Garden down on Deck 2.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Waiting for the King Triton Tree Lighting Decree a trio out performing some Christmas favorites.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1


Video of the King Triton Tree Lighting Decree

Now some stills from the ceremony.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Snow fall...

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

The gift shops had merchandise on sale for 40% off... what is Christmas without some shopping?

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

That wraps up the first day and a tour of the Disney Dream Christmas decorations.

Holidays aboard the Disney Dream - Day 1

Next I'll have photos of the holiday decorations at Castaway Cay. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disney Dream Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com



November 8, 2011

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

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It was interesting being aboard the Disney Dream and getting a chance to experience some different restaurants than the have on the Magic and Wonder. The menus in Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace are somewhat different than what we've had before. It was also the first time we've done such a short cruise, so we didn't get some of the ship-wide menus that we've seen before, such as Captain's Gala, Golden Mickeys, and 'Til We Meet Again - the only ship-wide menu we had was on Pirate Night.

We had a really good serving team - our server was Tiziana from Italy, and our assistant server was Nue from Thailand. They were very efficient and really kept our meals moving, so we were finished in an hour and a half most of the time. It was nice NOT being among the last guests to leave the dining room for a change. On a shorter cruise like this one we wondered if the serving team would be able to learn our names and drink choices, etc. as well as they do on the longer cruises, but we were not disappointed, and they were terrific. As I have been doing on our last few cruises I took pictures of them in their costumes each night, so I'll show those as we go along.

One area where I was disappointed in the quality of service was when we dined in one of the table service restaurants for breakfast or lunch where we did NOT have our usual dining team. We had great service for lunch at Royal Palace one day, but otherwise our servers were not very good - it took a little too long after we sat down until we were approached with menus and for drink orders, we weren't offered drink refills, or pastries for breakfast, and they didn't come back in a timely fashion to ask if we needed anything else.

We had excellent service in Cabanas, though, including one server who went out of his way to track down real cream for Lee's coffee instead of the Coffeemate they serve there.

But on to the food!

It was almost 2:30 by the time we boarded the ship. Once we dropped our bags in our stateroom we went straight to Cabanas for their buffet. They had the typical embarkation day type of buffet - selections of hot and cold foods, peel-and-eat shrimp, bread, fruit, dessert. I didn't take any photos of my plate, but I enjoyed the potato leek soup and the shrimp.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

I was very intrigued by these sand castle sculptures on the walls - they depict the castles from all five Disney "Magic Kingdom" parks - Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

One thing that's very different about Cabanas on the Dream as opposed to Topsiders and Beach Blanket Buffet on the Magic and Wonder is that at the back of the restaurant, instead of more serving stations, there is a bar all the way across.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Dinner the first night was in the new Enchanted Garden restaurant. The theme is the gardens of Versailles, and during dinner the light changes from evening to sunset to night.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food


I started with the Heirloom Tomato Soup, with sour cream, crouton, and basil. It was very good, and it was nice and hot - sometimes by the time I've been served my soup on board the ships it's been only barely warm.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli. He really enjoyed this.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

We both had the Spinach and Raspberry Salad. It had fresh raspberries, pine nuts, and gorgonzola, and was a very good salad.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

For our entree we both went with Tiziana's recommendation and had the Pan Seared Sea Bass with fava beans and pea risotto with a chili glaze. It was excellent - the fish was moist and flavorful and the risotto was very good.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

My dessert was the Sweet Temptations, with Esterhazy Cake (almond meringue and layered pastry cream), Strawberry Cheesecake and Silky Dark Chocolate Mousse. The latter two are No Sugar Added desserts. The mousse was ok, but none of it was remarkable.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Banana Foster Sundae. Which was mostly a fancy name for a banana split, I think. But he likes bananas, so he thought it was good.


Here are Tiziana and Nue, along with another server who decided he wanted to be in the picture, too. :-) Tiziana reminds me of ice skater Katarina Witt - she said no one had told her that before. (But she didn't know who Katarina Witt was...I guess that's not surprising since she was probably not even born when Katarina was competing!)

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

On Monday morning we had breakfast at Royal Palace. This is such a beautiful restaurant! I love all of the marble, and wood, and velvet and brocade.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

And there's all the paintings of the different princesses on the walls.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Traditional Eggs Benedict - he'd never had Eggs Benedict before, and he thought it was ok - he doesn't really like cooked egg white, though.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

I wasn't that hungry so just had the Fresh Fruit and Yogurt. It was good, but I get really tired of melon and pineapple on cruises - berries with this would have been a lot better. This was one of the meals where we had service that was not really at the level that we expect.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

We were back in Royal Palace for dinner that night. it was optional dress-up night, and since Royal Palace is the most formal of the three restaurants, it was nice that our dining rotation worked out that way. Here are Tiziana and Nue - unfortunately I think these costumes make the servers look like military school cadets and are not very flattering to the women. :-(

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

My first course was Belle's French Onion Soup. This was excellent - it was hot and cheesy and really good.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Double Baked Spinach Souffle. This was more like a cheese souffle with a little spinach. :-) He enjoyed it - practically licked the plate clean.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

For the second course we both had the Royal Market Green Salad - it came with slices of peppered goat cheese which was a little different, but we both love goat cheese. I think this may have been my favorite salad of the week.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

My main course was the Roasted Wild Boar Tenderloin. This was served on a carrot and onion potato cake. I make a carrot and onion patty that is similar, and this was very good with the potato added. I can't say that the "wild boar" tasted any different to me than regular pork.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Royal Palace Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Lobster Medallions, served on snow peas and potatoes.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

My dessert was the Sweet Temptations, which included peanut butter mousse, creme brulee, and mango cheesecake. The creme brulee was the best of the three - the mango cheesecake really didn't have much mango flavor.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee, not surprisingly, had the Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee. (He really likes creme brulee.) It's a very good creme brulee.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

One of the prettiest desserts was the Strawberry Short Cake Sundae that one of our tablemates ordered.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Tuesday night was Pirate Night and we were in Animator's Palate. Because they have all the video screens in that restaurant they can theme it to Pirate Night, and they display concept art from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and attraction, Peter Pan and Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food


My appetizer was the Pirates Golden Pot Stickers, which is a fried pork dumpling. It was good - about what I would expect.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee tried Black Beard's Jumbo Crab Cake, and he enjoyed that - it had lots of crab.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

I also ordered The Buccaneer's Sun-Ripened Pineapple, which was a wedge of pineapple with orange glaze and coconut covered banana. It was very sweet but quite tasty.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee tried the Jerk Chicken Salad - the description said it was strips of chicken, but instead it was served with one good-sized piece of chicken on top.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

My entree was the Treasures of the Seas Grilled Shrimp and Seared Scallops, without the scallops. It was served on a bed of pasta with a really yummy fresh tomato sauce. The pasta and sauce were good but the shrimp was very tough and almost inedible - there were three, and I only ate one of them.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee ordered The Dutchmen's Dijon-Crusted Sirloin of Beef . It was very tender.

This is Captain Hook's Macadamia Nut-dusted Mahi Mahi - it also looked pretty good.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

And this is Jack Sparrow's Barbecue Marinated Beef Short Ribs.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

For dessert I had, what else, the Sweet Temptations. :-) This came with floating island, fruit cobbler, and rum covered chocolate cake. The floating island is meringue with fruit, and it was very good. The cobbler was supposed to be something other than apple, but all mine had it in was apple. I think I had only one bite of the chocolate cake - I didn't really find any tasty chocolate desserts on this cruise.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Rum Soaked Chocolate Cake.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Tiziana and Nue had very nice pirate costumes that night!

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

One of the very best meals that we had was lunch on our at-sea day when we went to Royal Palace. We had excellent service, also.

I ordered the Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp was very good and the cocktail sauce was tangy.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee chose the Tomato and Basil Bruschetta, which we split. The pieces of bread were pretty small, and the bruschetta mix was more chopped onion than tomato, but it still tasted good.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

We both had the Mixed Field Greens, though for Lee it was an appetizer and for me it was an entree. It had chunks of feta cheese. It was also served with raspberry vinaigrette dressing - good thing we like that, because just about every salad we had came with that kind of dressing.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

I also tried the Chicken Consomme. It was chicken broth with thin strips of carrots and leeks, and it had a chicken dumpling in it. That wasn't quite what I expected, but it was very good, especially that particular day when it was windy and rainy outside.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee ordered the Pan Seared Tilapia on a bed of cheese grits. I tried it and it was delicious - we both commented that this whole meal was one that we would have really enjoyed as part of a dinner menu.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

I didn't plan to have dessert but ended up trying the Chocolate Cake, and it was pretty good - the best chocolate dessert I had on the cruise. Rich and moist.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Viennese Apple Streudel. It was a a rather small piece, served with vanilla ice cream. He enjoyed it.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

For dinner we were in Animator's Palate. Thought it has the same name and similar decor, the dining experience is different than on the Magic and the Wonder - it's much more interactive. There are large video screens on the walls, and characters from Finding Nemo swim by during dinner and pay a visit to the diners. Crush is even able to interact with guests and ask them questions.

I think the dining experience depends on how close you are to one of the big video screens. We had one at the end of our table, so that was a good location, though since we didn't have any kids at our table, Crush spent almost no time with us. :-( He did pose for this photo, though. :-)

The Animator's Palate menu has not changed much over the almost three years that I have been traveling on the Disney Cruise line. It has my very favorite appetizer, which both Lee and I had, the Sesame-flavored Rock Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake. This looks like dessert, but it's not sweet - it is very rich, though. Sometimes the shrimp is almost undetectable, but this definitely had shrimp in it - small pieces, since they are small shrimp (yeah, I guess "small shrimp" is redundant, isn't it?), but it gave it a nice flavor. It's still my favorite. :-)

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

We also had the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup, which is another favorite. It was also nice and hot, like all the soups we had on this cruise. It's served with a little bit of bacon and chives. Mmm, mmm, good!

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

I branched out with a different entree on this menu, though - I usually get the Black Bean Chipotle Cakes, but the last time I had them they were waaaay too hot, so I went with Tiziana's recommendation - the Grilled Pacific Black Cod with sauteed morel mushrooms on a yellow split pea puree. This was just delicious! The cod was cooked perfectly and the split pea puree was also tasty (I scraped the mushrooms off :-) ). I would definitely order this again!

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee ordered the Marinated Angus Beef Tenderloin, with wasabi mashed potatoes and tamarind barbecue sauce reduction. He enjoyed this - but I think he liked my cod even more. :-)

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

One of our tablemates had the Lemon-Thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast with sour cream mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and grain mustard jus. That looked pretty good and she enjoyed it.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

My dessert was the Crunchy Walnut Cake. This is certainly very chocolatey, but it's not my favorite.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Lee had the Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

One of our tablemates ordered the Pineapple Financier - almond cake topped with pineapple and whipped cream.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Another one ordered the most fun dessert of the evening - a Mickey Ice Cream Bar!

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

Here's our delightful serving team in their final night costumes - they don't seem to realize that there's a giant shark looming behind them...

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

We were back in Animator's Palate for breakfast on the final morning. There were a lot more people in the dining room than I usually see at breakfast, though there were only four of us at our table. I just ordered fruit and yogurt and granola, but Lee had the Route 66, with scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled ham, sausage, and hash browns.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food

One of our tablemates ordered the Chef's Farewell, which was an open-faced omelet with barbecued chicken, green peppers, onions and melted swiss cheese.

Disney Dream - October 2011 - The Food



October 22, 2011

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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Our last moments aboard the Disney Dream this morning...the final morning of a cruise I always find to be a let-down - everyone is in such a rush to get us off the ship by 9:00.

It was a beautiful morning in Port Canaveral - but chilly!!! Only 57, and it was only supposed to get up to 71-72 today...that was NOT the forecast when I left home (they were saying low 80s). I'm glad I brought a light jacket!

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

At about 7:30 we were in our cabin finishing our packing when suddenly the voice of the duty officer came on overhead - like right OVER Lee's head. I think he jumped a foot off the ground, and I was very startled, too. I don't think they intended that, because she just got a couple of sentences into the spiel about the Disney Dream being cleared by customs, and then it stopped. But if we weren't awake before, we were awake then. Yikes.

On our other cruises breakfast on the last morning has been pretty quiet, with a LOT of empty tables, but the dining room was pretty busy at 8:00 this morning. Only four of us at our 8-person table, though. Even our servers seemed a little subdued. They were great, and we will miss them.

We're used to just walking right off the ship after breakfast, but this time the Atrium was packed and people were lined up and waiting to get out. We twice heard the "everybody has to get off the ship" announcement before we were finally able to get off. It was not very pleasant, especially compared to our other experiences. But I guess that made it a relief to get off?

It didn't take too long to clear Customs and get out of the terminal and onto a bus headed back to WDW. We were the third stop, and the only passengers to get off at the Boardwalk. It was about 11:30 by then, and our room was actually ready!!! That was a very nice surprise.

I don't remember if we've been in a Studio since they changed the decor - I don't care much for the yellow and pink color scheme it has now.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Our room has one of the malevolent swans glaring down into it...though we are somewhat hidden by a big bush.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

BTW, we have free wireless internet service here, too, just like we did at Saratoga Springs. It's really very nice! I understand that for now this is a trial service - I sure hope they keep it. It works very well and has been very responsive, too.

We love staying at the Boardwalk - it's a pretty short walk to Epcot - the operative term being that you CAN walk - no need to hassle with waiting for a bus (or driving and parking). And since it was Food and Wine Festival time and we were ready for lunch...off to Epcot we went.

Lee's pass didn't work at the turnstile - it's a Premier pass that he renewed at Disneyland in May, and we'd both forgotten that he hadn't been to WDW since then, so they needed to activate it at Guest Relations. Fortunately that didn't take too long - though we wondered why he even had to do that. (The answer, apparently, is that they are two different ticketing systems. The Premier card stock comes from Disneyland, so it is pre-activated for Disneyland if you buy it at WDW, but if you buy it at Disneyland you have to have it activated at WDW before you can enter a park for the first time here. Though I don't remember having that problem with my Disneyland-purchased Premier pass last year.) So the Premier Pass thing continues to be somewhat frustrating - it's a great concept, but in practice it doesn't all work nearly as well as I think it should.

But we finally got into Epcot. It was really a beautiful day - totally clear skies. But a little bit cool (not even 70 at noon) and breezy - if I got into the shade I was chilly, even with a jacket. Not what I expect at this time of year - but it beats 95 degrees and 95% humidity!

The park was a little more crowded than I expected for a Thursday afternoon in late October, and there were short lines at most of the food booths, but not bad - and they got shorter as the afternoon went on. I'm going to have to do a separate blog on everything we tried, otherwise I won't get this one done in time to post tomorrow.

A shout-out to AllEars readers Katie and Dan from Seattle, who recognized us and came over to say hello and tell us how much they enjoy the web site and the newsletter. Thank you!

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Today's standouts: Shrimp Cake from Singapore (Laura), and Beef with Smashed Sweet Potatoes from South Africa (Lee). Biggest surprise - Poland, where both the pork stuffed cabbage roll and the kielbasa and potato pierogi were very good. Best dessert: the Pastel from Portugal (a flaky pastry cup filled with egg custard). We would never have tried it but the ladies at the New Zealand booth told us how wonderful it was. (The Shrimp Cake is pictured below.)

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

After one circle around World Showcase lagoon we took a break and went back to our room for a nap. We ARE on vacation, after all! And went back to the park around 5:30.

At the Desserts and Champagne booth I had a glass of the Moet and Chandon Nectar Imperial. It wasn't quite like having Steven serve me a champagne cocktail in Pink, but it was very good.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We saw the cranberry bog they have set up in the area between Future World and World Showcase (what is that area called, anyway?). Talked to the guy in the bog about cranberries and how they are harvested. We didn't realize that Craisins were actually developed to make use of what remained of the cranberry after the juice was extracted. And that cranberries are grown from seed - it takes 3-5 years after a bog is planted until it can be harvested...but after that, they keep producing - there are some cranberry bogs that are 130 years old!

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We wandered down to the Festival Center (former Wonders of Life pavilion), but there wasn't anything going on that late (it was almost 7:00). Continuing our tour of Epcot (have to work off all of those calories somehow!) we went to the front of the park - pretty at night.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Since we had dined with Crush the night before, it seemed only fitting that we visit the Nemo and Friends pavilion.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We saw one of the tanks that had a number of seahorses in it. (Seahorse means starboard! ;-) )

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 5 and Epcot Food and Wine Festival

It was around 8:00 by the time we went back to World Showcase, and there were hardly any lines at the food booths. The park was fairly empty since the evening was a little bit chilly. We tried a few more food items, and then watched Illuminations before heading back to our room for the night. We started the day on the Disney Dream, and finished the day at Epcot - not too bad!



October 21, 2011

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

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Wednesday - At Sea

Not a very pretty day for our At Sea day, unfortunately. The skies are overcast and it is VERY windy - the sustained speed has been at least 24 mph all day, with gusts regularly 30-35, and I've seen it as high as 47 mph when I've been watching the "Bridge Report" channel. There's also lots of whitecaps and swells of 4-8'. Remarkably the ship is very stable and doesn't seem to move as much as I would have expected. But the AquaDuck has been closed all day, and they stopped letting people go all the way forward on deck 13 this afternoon.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Lee and I took a walk around deck 4 this morning after breakfast - the weather was very different on the starboard side of the ship as opposed to the port side! On the port side it was sunny. dry, and quite balmy, but on the starboard side the wind was howling, it was shaded, and it was wet from all the sea spray.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4


On the sunny side we did something we'd never done before, and played shuffleboard. Neither of us was very good at it, but we had fun - even if Lee did knock my 8 pointer out of the box (no matter, I won anyway. :-) )

We stopped at Shutters to look at photos - we had quite a few taken during Pirate Night last night. They have changed how they do the photos, and I think it's a much better system. Instead of placing the photos somewhat randomly on racks, now they are organized into folders - each party/stateroom has their own folder. You use your Key to the World card to find out which folder has been assigned to you. You can also still view your photos on the photo kiosks, like you can on the other ships.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Just before lunch we didn't something else we hadn't done before - went to Goofy's Sports Deck on deck 13 aft and played mini golf. There were a fair number of people up there but we didn't really have to wait. It was a fun little course. (Technically I won, but there was a weird lip around the next-to-last hole that Lee's golf ball jumped over three times without going in, so we called it a tie.)

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

We had lunch at Royal Palace - it had a much different lunch menu than I've seen before - it was more like a dinner menu (Lee called it a "bonus dinner"). And for a change we had excellent service - generally we've been less than impressed by the service we've gotten in the table service restaurants other than from our dining team, but all the servers we had for lunch were great, and the food was also really good - we would have been happy having any of those items on a dinner menu. Royal Palace has a couple of private rooms - I had a chance to go into the "Tiana" room and take photos.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

And we did something else we'd never done - we saw a movie in the Buena Vista Theater! Cars 2 in 3D. I think it was more crowded than usual because the weather wasn't very nice outside - it had started raining in addition to being windy. We hadn't really heard a lot of good reviews about the movie but we really enjoyed it - except for the family behind us. The parents spent most of the movie explaining it to their kids who didn't speak English, and the kids were on their laps and kept kicking the backs of both of our seats. Very annoying and inconsiderate. The 3D aspects worked nicely - added to the depth of the movie, but without any "cheap 3D tricks", as Kermit the Frog puts it. :-)

After the movie we checked out conditions on deck - it had stopped raining, but it was still very windy. Up on deck 12, we found this little water show that one of the drains was putting on. :-) No idea where the pressure was coming from to make it splash like that, but it was one happy, cheerful little drain.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

My mystery enchanted art on deck 8 forward had yet different artwork this evening (It had been the usual Nassau and Castaway Cay art all morning and afternoon). Two different romantic experience while cruising, featuring Mickey and Minnie, and Donald and Daisy.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4


We saw the show - Disney's Believe. I'd seen it back in January and enjoyed it, but this was Lee's first time. He thought it started off a little slowly but overall he liked it. I really liked seeing scenes from Mary Poppins, Pocahontas, and The Princess and the Frog.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4


On our final night we HAD to go back to Pink, of course. We tried two different champagne cocktails - I had the Blue Angel and Lee had the Pomegranate Passion.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Bartender Steven and server Abie both took good care of us on our three visits to Pink. We were surprised that it was never very busy - but that was nice for us.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Abie pointed out the "hidden Dumbos" in the pink bubbles on the walls - very cute. And he also showed us an interesting effect that you can apparently only see on the display screen of a digital camera - but even with a digital camera it doesn't photograph. There are little bubbles projected on the walls and on the bar and they rise like the would in a champagne glass! It was really neat.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4


Our final night dinner was the "show" dinner at Animator's Palate. We had a good table, right against the wall with one of the big display screens. Since we didn't have kids at our table Crush didn't spend much time with us, though. :-( He did come over and pose for a picture - this is his "camera" pose.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

At the end of dinner the displays become static - we ended up with Bruce the shark above our table - scary!

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

One final night in our stateroom - we had a hip towel swan this time. :-) Since we had carry-on luggage we didn't have to worry about packing and getting our luggage out into the hallway by 10:30, so that was nice. We did get most of our packing done, though.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 4

The cruise has gone very quickly, though four nights was a decent length of time to be on board - three nights would have been way too short. And we had most of three days onboard the ship since we didn't go into Nassau and didn't spend a lot of time on Castaway Cay. So I feel like I really was able to see and experience the ship a lot more on this trip.

It was also very nice for us to have the opportunity to relax and enjoy what the ship has to offer a lot more on this cruise - like going to Pink and Skyline (Lee also spent some time in Evolution). Plus seeing a movie and playing shuffleboard and mini golf. And don't forget the AquaDuck! But neither of us made it to the gym at all, though Lee ran on deck once.

The ship was almost full - they said there were about 3800 passengers on board. With the poor weather yesterday I was concerned that it might seem really crowded since most people were inside instead of being at the pool, but it really wasn't bad at all.



October 20, 2011

Disney Dream - October 2011, Part 3

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Day 3 - This is our lazy day on Castaway Cay. We both slept in - and I have to admit that I stayed in bed after Lee got up to get breakfast - it was really nice. He was doing the Castaway Cay 5K run, so he left the ship not long after they announced passengers could go ashore.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

I decided to try Enchanted Garden for breakfast - it's a buffet in the mornings. Pretty standard breakfast fare, but I was really only interested in yogurt, granola and fruit - too much rich food lately. The lighting is different in Enchanted Garden in the morning - the flower lights are blue and not pink.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

As I wandered through the Atrium I was able to get this photo of Cinderella in between guests.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Up on Deck 12 I saw a completely empty Mickey Pool - and not because it was closed!

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Lee wasn't back (but he told me he was probably going to stay on the island after the run), so I grabbed my Castaway Club bag and book,camera, sunscreen, and water and headed onto the island. It was another mostly overcast day - I was hoping for some blue sky for some nicer photo opportunities. The clouds started to break up a little bit, but then it clouded over again. And the breeze really started coming up around 10:30, which was good because it made the temperature a lot more comfortable, but it meant that some of the excursions (e.g. parasailing) were canceled.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

I walked instead of taking the tram and found a lounge chair under an umbrella at the first family beach - left my stuff there and went a ways further taking photos - I even got this one of Captain Jack as he went to his next scheduled Meet-and-Greet.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

There's lots of bright colors and interesting things to look at. Alyson told us yesterday that the island was very heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene in August, but you'd never know it - it looks wonderful. She said they had to dredge 10' of sand out of the channel after the hurricane so that it would be deep enough for the ships (particularly the Dream) to get in and out.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3


After a while I went back to my lounge chair and read my book for while, and got lunch at Cookie's BBQ, but by 12:45 I started making my way back to the ship. I know that a lot of people really love Castaway Cay, and it's their favorite thing about a Disney cruise, but I'm not really a beach and water person, so it doesn't do that much for me. I went back to the ship and rode the AquaDuck a couple of times, since the line was very short - 5-10 minutes.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Our stateroom host Omar is even better than a message system. :-) When I came back to the room he saw me and said that Lee was looking for me a little earlier, and had gone up to the AquaDuck (I'd told Omar earlier that's where I was going). He went to the AquaDuck but didn't see me (took a quick ride because the line was short, though), and then he came down a different stairwell than the one I went up, so Omar told him he'd just seen me, and Lee found me on Deck 11. :-) He had a good 5K run - they even gave them Castaway Cay 5K bib numbers, even though it wasn't a "race". He also went snorkeling a couple of times.

BTW, Lee is pretty claustrophobic, but he didn't have any problems riding the AquaDuck.

I did another case with the Midship Detective Agency - it takes less time when you have some idea of where the enchanted art is located. :-) I looked for the stolen dalmatian puppies this time - I didn't find 101 of them, but I found enough to crack the case. (And no, the guilty party wasn't Cruella de Vil.)

One thing I noticed today - there are two pieces of enchanted art in the forward elevator lobby on deck 8 - and today I found that they are different depending on the time of DAY. They depict Disney Cruise line destinations. I'm used to seeing them in the morning when they are Nassau and Castaway Cay, but in the afternoon they were Mexican Riviera and Alaska, and in the evening, Russia and romance aboard the ship.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Tonight is Pirate Night, and we brought our pirate costumes. so we dressed up. Arrrr.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

We were sophisticated pirates, though, so instead of rum and grog, before dinner we went back to Pink to have champagne cocktails. :-) The red one is the Elderbubble, which has elderflower liqueur (and raspberry puree - and vodka), and the orange one is the Tropicale, with mango puree. They were both very good.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Our dinner was in Animator's Palate, and I was really happy to see that they were using the displays around the room to show concept art from lots of Disney pirate things - the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and movies, and Peter Pan. It's a great restaurant to be in on Pirate Night - probably the best of the three in terms of the theming.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

About 10:15 we went up to Deck 12 to see the fireworks, which started at 10:30. Lee got us into what was really a great spot - just in front of the forward funnel on the starboard side.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

It was also a really good spot because they had the deck between the funnel and the area above the pool blocked off, so after the fireworks when they opened the area we had a chance to get right on the rail above the stage on deck 12 and see the Club Pirate show with Jack Sparrow.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

After the show I went to check out the Pirate Buffet in Cabanas. The food lines near the entrance were long, but if you bypassed those and went to the far end where the desserts and crepes were (they were making fresh crepes - yum) then those lines weren't bad at all. The crepes were good but I was disappointed in the selection they had for fillings - the chocolate was just Hershey's syrup, and instead of fresh strawberries they had a syrupy strawberry compote.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

Tonight's towel animal ain't nothing but a hound dog. :-)

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 3

At Sea day tomorrow.


October 19, 2011

Disney Dream - October 2011, Part 2

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Day 2 - we docked in Nassau a little before 9:00 in the morning. All aboard isn't until 2:00 am! It's a pretty short trip to Castaway Cay from here, though. It's been mostly cloudy today - there's been some sun, but also a few rain showers this afternoon. Here's a picture of the Dream in its home port of Nassau.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

We had no excursions and nothing planned for the day, so it's been a nice relaxing day for us. After we finally got up we went to breakfast at Royal Palace - the menu looks amazingly like the one for Lumiere's on the Magic - except without the character names from Beauty and the Beast. The restaurant is very pretty - since it was daytime and not too busy I was able to take a lot of photos.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

There's all kinds of "Princess" touches - one thing Lee noticed that I had missed is that all of the chairs have a symbol of one of the princesses carved on the back, like an apple, a slipper, or a rose.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

After breakfast I joined the Midship Detective Agency to solve a case about stolen paintings. I thought the paintings were very clever - they were Disney renditions of famous "mousterpieces" like Duck with a Pearl Earring, The Blue Duck, Goofy Crossing the Delaware, Minnie Rising From the Ocean, the Goofy Cavalier...One of the clues was in the piece of "Minnie Lisa" enchanted art hanging in the Vista Gallery.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

It's a great way to learn your way around the ship - the Detective Casebook contains a map of the locations of the 13 pieces of enchanted art that are part of the game - so you might have to visit just about every deck from 2-10. The detective badge card has a code on the other side that the artwork can "read", and then you use it to interact with the art - moving it side to side or forward and back, depending on whether you are trying to unscrew something or pop balloons, or sweep away dust, etc. Those types of actions often reveal a clue that gives you more information on who the identity of the perpetrator might be.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

I had a lot of fun with it, and in the picture below you can see the suspect that I identified. There are currently two different cases to solve - I will probably try the other one later in the cruise.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

Lee and I both went to a couple of sessions about the Disney Dream itself. The first one was "Making of a Dream", where Alyson, one of the cruise staff, talked about the history of the Disney Cruise Line, some of the differences between the Dream and the Magic/Wonder, and showed some videos of the construction. I didn't take any notes, but a few things I remember:

1. The Dream is 150 feet longer than the Magic/Wonder, and three decks higher.

2. Maximum passenger capacity is about 4100, as opposed to ~2000 on the Magic and Wonder.

3. There are 1500 crew members (representing 62 countries) on the Dream, and about 900 on the Magic/Wonder.

4. It takes one million dollars' worth of fuel to fill the fuel tanks.

5. The atrium area has hidden lights and speakers (behind the white panels under the Disney art friezes) so they can use the Atrium as an indoor stage for events like the Sailaway Party and Pirate Party that can't be held in the main pool area due to bad weather.

6. The Disney Magic and the Disney Dream are Art Deco in style, while the Disney Wonder and the upcoming Disney Fantasy are Art Nouveau.

7. People have asked about "behind-the-scenes" tours of the galleys, bridge, or engine room. They can't do those for security reason, but there are videos available of those areas on your stateroom TV: Push the MENU button, then Ship Tips, and you'll see the Bridge Tour, Engine Tour, and Behind the Scenes Galley Tour. They are each about three minutes long.

The second session was "Art of the Theme Ship", which was actually a tour around various areas of the Dream. It started in Meridian, which is the lounge between Palo and Remy on Deck 12 - and it's a challenge to get there if you don't know the ship pretty well. You must get there from the aft elevator or stairwell - there's no external access to it from deck 12. Sarah was our tour guide, and told us all kinds of fascinating things about the ship and pointed out lots of little details that you may or may not see, or know what they mean. For example, the little note clips outside each stateroom are shaped like either fish or seahorses - fish are on the port side, because "fish" has four letters like "port" does. For the other side, both "seahorse" and "starboard" begin with the same letter. In the elevator lobbies you can tell where you are by the main color of the carpet - gold for aft, blue for midship, and red for forward. In the hallway carpets, there are starfish, and their top point points forward. The maps in the carpet are also oriented forward.

She took us into Palo, which is even prettier on the Dream than on the other two ships.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

And in Remy, Sarah pointed out that there are a number of "hidden Remys", like these on the back of the chairs.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

It's a very elegant-looking restaurant.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

Next we went down to Deck 5, where we found that the ceilings are lower there - that's because it's where all the kids' clubs are, and making the space a little smaller makes the kids feel a little more secure. That area is also the center of the ship and is the most stable with the least movement.

On Deck 4 went into "The District" to several of the clubs. In 687 she asked if we knew the significance of that name (I did, but I don't think anyone else knew). It was the hull number of the ship in the Meyer-Werft shipyard. It's considered bad luck to refer to a ship by its name before it's completed, so they call it by the hull number. When the keel was laid a coin was placed there, and a replica of the coin is in a case in 687.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

She asked about the highest guest space on the ship - I thought this was the Aquaduck, which I think technically is "deck 15" at the top, but she said it's the Outlook on Deck 14. I went up there afterwards to take a look at it - it's intended for private events, apparently. The only way to get there is via the mid-ship elevator, and only one of the elevators goes up to deck 14. Really a nice comfortable space, though.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

Tonight's show was Villains Tonight, which we saw on the Med cruise last year. This version was a little different - I think it's been polished a bit from what we saw before. It stars Hades, and in addition to Hades it features some of the less-well-known villains, like Yzma and Scar. But really, most of our favorites are in there - the Evil Queen, Maleficient,Ursula, Captain Hook, Jafar, and Cruella de Vil. The Hades character, like the Genie in Aladdin at DCA, seems to have lot more leeway for topical improvisational comedy, and he had some pretty funny lines. Though my favorite line was actually from Pain (or maybe it was Panic) - who in passing made mention of the font they use in the Underworld - Helvetica. (That slipped by a lot of people.) I think the show is a lot of fun, and we both enjoyed it.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

After the show we went to Pink - the champagne bar. Since it was our first time there we HAD to try the Taittinger pink champagne that is made exclusively for the Dream. It came with a "verrine", which was a small dessert, kind of like a panna cotta, with a top layer of chocolate, mango or passion fruit (we had a choice and both got chocolate). It was tasty with the champagne, and the champagne itself was very nice - bubbly and dry, but not alcohol-y. They have a lot of interesting-looking champagne cocktails as well - we'll have to try some of those later. We really enjoyed talking to Steven, the bartender, too.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

Dinner tonight was at Royal Palace. It was also Optional Dress Up night. We didn't bring formal clothes on this cruise, but brought something a little nicer to wear to Royal Palace, so it was good that those nights coincided! Dinner was pretty good - I'll have more on that in the food blog.

Tonight's towel animal is one I don't think we've had before - Tigger, meet Kermit. :-)

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 2

Castaway Cay tomorrow!



October 18, 2011

Disney Dream - October 2011, Part 1

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Lee and I are back in Florida again for a four-night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream, and then a couple of days at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. This will be his first time on the Dream, since he wasn't on the Christening Cruise. And I'm looking forward to having more than 40 hours on the ship this time - the Christening Cruise was quite a whirlwind trip for us. There was so much more to see and do than we had time for!

We arrived on Saturday evening - we had all carryon luggage so went straight to Disney's Magical Express and were soon on our way to Saratoga Springs. It was all pretty efficient - we landed about about 4:45 and we IN our room at Saratoga Springs by 6:30.

We were in a studio - seems a little smaller than the studios we are used to at Boardwalk Villas - there's very little space between the one side of the queen bed and the wall, since there's no nightstand.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

One nice thing: apparently as of Friday, all of the Deluxe resorts, DVC resorts, and Coronado Springs have converted to free wireless internet access for all guests! It's so nice not to hassle with the network cable and "signing in" and all of that. It seems faster to me than the wired access was, also.

For those of you familiar with Saratoga Springs, our room was alllll the way in The Carousel, on the far corner of that buidling - basically as far away as you can get from anything. We're walkers so it's not really so bad, though I wouldn't want to do it on a hot and humid day.

We decided to walk over to Downtown Disney for dinner - trying to figure out how to do that was a challenge, because all of the directory maps are oriented awkwardly, and the path is really not well marked. We found one sign that indicated it was the path to Downtown Disney...but then we came to another intersection that wasn't marked. We eventually figure it out. It's a pretty good walk from where we were - about 1.2 miles. We saw a beautiful sunset!

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

Earl of Sandwich sounded good for dinner - it was very busy, though, and the line was long. I had their seasonal Holiday Sandwich, which was turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and gravy. It was very tasty, though it needed more cranberry sauce. Lee had the All-American, which is also turkey and cranberry sauce, but it has lettuce, tomato, and cheddar cheese. We shared, and had half of each sandwich. :-)

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

Downtown Disney was incredibly busy, as it always seems to be. Why isn't everybody in the theme parks like they should be? :-)

For dessert we went over to babycakes NYC, located inside what used to be McDonald's, and is now the bakery, Pollo Campero, and Fresh A'Peel. This is a vegan and gluten-free bakery, and is also dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free. Lee wondered how a place that didn't use any of those ingredients could possibly be anything other than "taste-free", but a bite of his cinnamon doughnut quickly convinced him otherwise - he said it was as good as any cake doughnut he'd ever had! We also got some of the chocolate chip cookies, which taste a lot like the "breakfast cookies" that his grandmother used to make - only they aren't full of butter like hers were.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

But we also stopped by Ghirardelli and bought a selection of their "Intense Dark" squares. Yum. :-)

On the walk back (and continuing on since then) we've had a "discussion" about Saratoga Springs. My opinion is that it's a nice-enough resort, but it doesn't have any appeal of its own like most of the rest of the DVC resorts do - nothing about the resort itself (location, theme, or amenities) that makes you want to stay there specifically. Most of the people who own here don't STAY here, and since it's such a large resort, it means a huge bunch of people are staying in the other "preferred" DVC resorts. So if you don't make your DVC reservations at least 6 months in advance you almost invariably get stuck at Saratoga Springs. I find that frustrating. Lee likes the resort and I think he's about to start a "Give Saratoga Springs Some Love" campaign. :-)

So, today (Sunday) we slept in - though 8:57 a.m. here means 5:57 a.m. in California... It was too late to think about going to a theme park, since we had to be back at Saratoga Springs to catch our bus by noon.

So we had breakfast at Artists Palette, packed and eventually schlepped our bags over to the Carriage House (got everything in two carry-on bags). The bus stopped at two other resorts after Saratoga, so it was 1:00 by the time we really got on the road, and 2:00 by the time we made it to the port. (This photo is the lights inside Artists Palette.)

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

It was nice to see the Dream again. Check-in and boarding were a breeze - quite UNLIKE our last Disney Cruise check-in experience in San Pedro, where they were having computer problems and we stood in line for 90 minutes to check in.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

We were able to go straight to our stateroom - we are on deck 8 forward, starboard side. Maybe one of these days we'll get a cabin on the port side - six cruises, and I've always been on the starboard side! :-) One thing that is different this time - the head of our bed is on the forward side of the cabin and not the aft side.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

After lunch at Cabanas we did some exploring until the lifeboat drill, since Lee hasn't been on the Dream before. He was fascinated by the automatic doors into the Cove Cafe.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

We were unpacking during the Sailaway Party, so we missed that - we did get to the Golden Mickeys show, though. It's a little different than the version we've seen on the Magic and the Wonder. We both really like the new Rapunzel number (I See the Light).
The staging and musical numbers are great, but I could do without the whole Ensign Benson sub-plot (yes, I know I've said that before).

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

Before the show the Captain came out and introduced himself and his staff. He was more personable than the other captains I've seen - he told us that we didn't have to worry about who was in charge when we saw him elsewhere on the ship because there are several other captains on board...Captain Mickey, Captain Jack, and Captain Hook...

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

Our stateroom host is Omar, and he's been great so far. Tonight's first towel creation is a seal, and in the tradition of many previous towel creations, it's wearing my sunglasses.

Disney Dream - October, 2011, Part 1

Dinner tonight was at Enchanted Garden - that's the first time I've had dinner there, since we didn't eat there on the two-night Christening Cruise. I'll have lots more on the food in a separate food blog. I will say I was very impressed that for a change everything came out hot - too often on the Wonder and the Magic the food has been only lukewarm by the time it's delivered to the table, especially the soups.

Nassau tomorrow - seems like a good reason to just stay on the ship...



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About Dream Bahamas Cruise 2011

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